During a service last week at Kenneth Copeland‘s Eagle Mountain International Church, evangelist Paula White (a spiritual adviser to Donald Trump) and Copeland’s daughter Terri Pearsons told the crowd in no uncertain terms that they needed to vote Republican this November.
It was a complete violation of the Johnson Amendment which, contrary to what Pearsons said, has not yet been invalidated.
“There is so much at stake in this,” Pearsons responded, hammering home the point that Trump’s judicial appointments are “probably the single biggest, most critical issue” in the upcoming elections. “That’s what your vote means, so we’re going to vote for the team that will most press that agenda through because it’s the judges that have brought so much of the ungodliness into our nation.”
“You see the hand of God in all this,” White chimed in, falsely claiming that California has already passed a law “that says the Bible is a book of hate speech and to ban the sale of it.”
Warning that such laws will soon spread to other states unless Trump can place “righteous judges” on courts throughout the nation, White said that it is crucial to get Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court because “we probably will have … up to a total of five other” Supreme Court appointments if Republicans can retain control of the Senate and Trump can win a second term.
“I can say to you, ‘Vote red,’” Pearsons declared. “I can say that to you without any fear that the IRS is going to take away your right to donate to this church and deduct it from your taxes and without you being audited because of it. That’s over and that’s because our president did that for us.”
This isn’t ambiguous. Churches are free to advocate on issues, telling people abortion and homosexuality is a sin. But just like all other non-profits, they are not free to tell their congregations who to vote for while preserving their tax exemptions.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and every other group that works on these issues should be alerting the IRS to this violation even if they’re not optimistic anyone will take action.
Christians shouldn’t get to break the rules they agreed to play by — especially when they would be flipping out if the leader of a mosque was telling Muslims to vote for Democrats while insisting the government couldn’t take away their tax breaks. If the Copelands want to turn their church into a branch of the GOP, they are welcome to do that, but they shouldn’t be rewarded while doing it.
(via Right Wing Watch)